The Cassandra Cat

Directed by Vojtech Jasný

Nouvelle restauration 4K présentée par Janus Films


Official selection

Official Selection - Cannes Film Festival 1963
Special Mention - Thessaloniki International Film Festival 1964
Locarno Film Festival 1963
Cannes Classics 2021


Cannes Film Festival - Special Jury Prize

Thessaloniki International Film Festival - Special Mention


Jaroslav Jílovec


Jirí Brdecka, Vojtech Jasný, Jan Werich


Vlastimil Brodský, Emília Vášáryová, Jan Werich


Jaroslav Kucera


Jan Chaloupek


Janus Films

Czech Republic 1963 105 mins OV Czech Subtitles : English
Genre FamilyClassiqueFantasy

“A hugely and joyously inventive work that intermittently explodes with energy and imagination”

"Part fairy tale and part political satire, THE CASSANDRA CAT won the Jury Prize at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival. Five years later, it was banned by the communist regime after Soviet tanks rolled into Prague.”
- Jason Pirodsky, PRAGUE REPORTER

When a wizard and his traveling companions roll up to a mundane town where expressions of imagination and creativity are heavily discouraged by the mayor, in favour of cultural austerity, the troupe’s magical cat ignites outright anarchy. Unbeknownst to most of the locals, this cat harbours a secret power: when his tiny glasses are removed, he carries the ability to reveal people’s hidden characters, by changing their colour for all the world to see — violet for liars and hypocrites, yellow for cheaters, and red for those in love. At a circus performance attended by the entire town, acrobat Diana takes off the cat’s glasses, exposing soap-opera levels of dishonesty and infidelity within the community, and capturing sensitive teacher Robert’s heart in the process, as a delirious riot ensues.

Cannes Special Jury Prizewinner (1963) THE CASSANDRA CAT (aka WHEN THE CAT COMES) is largely accepted as an early title in the Czech New Wave, even if director Vojtech Jasný came out of FAMU (Prague Film School) a generation earlier than most of the other filmmakers who made up the core of the movement. The film displays many of the assets that would become associated with this oftentimes playful, oftentimes avant-garde approach to political filmmaking that dominated the sixties in Czechoslovakia. The film mixes in wild, hallucinatory trick photography — including lush cinematography by Jaroslav Kucera (DAISIES, 1966) — with dizzying musical numbers, while the themes of fantasy, surrealism, magical realism and fairytale dominate. Endearing, genuinely whimsical, yet hiding a deep social message, the film was banned after the Prague Spring in 1968, sending director Jasný into exile. This luminous, enchanting cornerstone of the Czech New Wave is presented at Fantasia in a 4K restoration by the Czech National Archive (thanks to Janus Films). – Kat Ellinger